Tribalism and Shared Resources: A Sinnsreachd Perspective
Article ID: 15144
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: August 12th. 2012
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There are of course countless differences between the deoraithe and us. One difference in particular keeps most others in place while we continue to build on our own strength: shared resources. A typical deorad family works like this: Mom and dad start from scratch, build a household and raise kids; when the kids are of age they venture out and also start from scratch, build a household and raise kids; and when their kids are of age… You see the pattern. Each generation starts from nothing.
We strive to do things differently, better. Each generation adds to the financial strength, property holdings, etc. of the previous generation. This will lead to each tuatha becoming more stable, more secure and more self-sufficient as the generations progress. Ultimately, as tuatha grow bigger and more resource-rich, we will trade amongst each other and become something more than just individual tuatha. Someday. But how do we accomplish this today; how do we get started?
The first step is attitude. Stop thinking in terms of just your own generation. Consider your children, and their children. Always consider the inheritance that you will leave. Houses, cars, precious metals, firearms, books, tools, etc., all these things will be your legacy. At the same time, remember that debt is inherited as well. So avoid it as much as possible. (In most states, debts of the deceased are settled from liquidating estate assets before the remainder of the estate is released to the heirs.) Along these lines, never consider a “reverse mortgage”. It is a curse on your descendants. A Sinsearaí should never say or think, “What do I care; I’ll be dead.”
The main tool for building the tuath’s wealth and creating shared resources is the money render. Money render is a form of tithe where members regularly contribute a portion of their earnings to a tuath fund for the benefit of the whole. This fund is used to pay for feasts, purchase shared resources, loaned to members in need, etc. The specifics of what is contributed and how it is used will vary from one tuath to the next. As an example, here is how the Dáirine do it:
Everyone renders 10% of his or her earned income. To encourage personal savings, this is split between the Dáirine Treasury and the members’ own savings accounts. For members age 14 to adult, 5% goes to the Treasury and 5% goes to their savings. Under 14, the whole 10% goes to savings, but it does get them accustomed to the render. Decisions on how to disburse the Treasury are pretty organic right now, but officially adults have a full vote and members 14-17 have a half vote. Ultimately, the decision rests with the Taoiseach. The Treasury is kept in an account opened just for this purpose. The account balance is kept where everyone can see it so there is no question as to how the funds are being spent.
As a tuath grows, the amount of money available through the render grows as well. As the members are more successful in their careers, so too does the render grow. As an example, in a tuath with 10 working adults, it is quite reasonable to have an income of $1, 000 a month coming into the treasury. Put toward land, equipment, whatever, it could very much increase the tuath’s holdings.
Once a tuath has established an income in this manner, what can it do to further itself? Truly, there is no limit to this so long as the purchases are made for the benefit of the whole. Currently, our treasury is spent on the feasts and paying for the family’s Aikido training. Here are some more suggestions:
Buy property – This can be land, houses, or both. The houses can then be rented to members of the tuath or children just starting out on their own. Buy or build a halla – This would be a central meeting place for feasts, classes, etc.
Start a tuath library – Why should there be several copies of books that most people would only read once? Buy a copy and share. This would be especially good for rare, expensive books. The library idea also works well for DVD’s and video games.
Food and supply storage – We are taught that we should prepare so that we can weather bad times. The treasury can be used to create community level food storage to supplement each families own stores.
Start tuath owned and operated businesses – Invest in your own people by creating jobs.
Armory – Weapons and ammunition can be very expensive. The treasury could be used to help provide for the defense of the tuath.
Motor pool – Buy specialty vehicles. Why rent a pickup or box van when these could be owned by the tuath?
Training courses – Funds could be used to pay for martial arts training, EMT, first aid and CPR, tactical weapons training, welding, etc. All of these skills assist the tuath.
Specialty tools – The treasury could be used to buy tools that are expensive or infrequently used like an auger, jackhammer, backhoe, tiller, etc. Indeed, funds could be used to put together a full machine or woodworking shop.
Emergency fund – A cash fund that could be loaned to members having hard times.
It is said that money is one of the two main sources of argument leading couples to divorce, sex being the other. Money has the potential to become a volatile issue within the tuath as well. So, some care must be taken in the administration of the treasury. Probably the most important thing is transparency. Members should receive regular reports of how much is in the treasury and how it is being spent. An account should be started just for the treasury and there should be a limited number of people with access to it. I would recommend access be limited to no more than three people: the rí/taoiseach, an appointed treasurer, and perhaps one other. Procedures should be developed for deciding how the funds will be spent. I would recommend having some manner of voting depending on the size of the tuath. The keys are to ensure that funds are being spent for the benefit of the whole and that there is no appearance of the treasury becoming anyone’s personal slush fund.
In addition to the treasury, there are other ways to share resources, although many of these should be obvious. Help each other out. Watch each other’s kids. Take a meal to a member who has taken ill. Share skills. From auto mechanics to carpentry to knitting, there should be no skill in the tuath that all are not at least familiar with. Also, items that would normally be given to charity or sold should be offered within the tuath first. For some items, like outgrown clothes, unwanted toys, even old furniture, a bank of sorts could be created so that these items are available to members who can use them.
By working together, by sharing resources and knowledge, we will grow ever stronger. This is what the deoraithe do not understand. This is the strength of a tribal people.
Copyright: (c) 2009, Dáire Hobbs
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
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